In the deadliest ambush by Maoists since 2010, 24 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force died and six were injured in Chhattisgarh's Sukma this afternoon.
The planned massacre had started around 1 pm, when the men from the 74 Battalion were sanitizing the area for a group of construction workers building a road.
Earlier report said, the encounter took place at around 12.25pm between the Burkapal-Chintagufa area in south Bastar, one of the worst Maoist violence-affected region in the state.
Six CRPF troops are said to be critically injured and efforts are on to evacuate them to safety.
The jawans are from the 74th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and were deployed in the area for anti-Maoist operations.
"The incident took place when the road opening party of the 74th battalion of CRPF were out on patrol at Burkapal near Chintagufa. The jawans were deployed for security at an under construction road.
"The maoists ambushed CRPF personnel and started indiscriminate firing, leaving eleven jawans dead and seven severely injured, including an inspector," said Jitendra Shukla, additional superintendent of police, Sukma.
One of the wounded jawans later succumbed to his injuries
While reinforcement from the nearest CRPF camp had rushed to the spot soon after the incident, the injured were being airlifted to Raipur for treatment, Shukla added.
All weapons, wireless and complete ammunition belonging to the 12 martyred jawans were looted by the Maoists.
In light of the attack, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh has cancelled his engagements in Delhi and rushed to Raipur, where he will hold an emergency meeting later in the day.
Bastar inspector general Vivekanand Sinha and deputy inspector general Sunderraj have left for Sukma to take stock of the situation.
Twelve personnel of the CRPF were killed in the same district early this year in a deadly Naxal ambush.
In 2010, 76 men of CRPF died in Dantewada as they were on an area domination exercise.
Following the attack, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh cut short his visit to Delhi and rushed back to Raipur for an emergency meeting.
Sukma is part of south Bastar, which for decades has suffered the Maoist menace. On 11 March, 12 CRPF men were killed and four were injured in an ambush in Sukma. The forces were providing security cover for road construction on the Bheji-Gorkha-Injiram Axis area.
After the attack, one of the biggest in the last two years, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it was a sign of the "frustration" of the Maoists because of the "unprecedented success" of the security operations against them.
Making a statement in Lok Sabha, the minister said last year, 135 extremists were killed, 700 were arrested, 1,198 surrendered, and there was a 15 per cent drop in the number of attacks.
Quoting local officers, news agency Press Trust of India reported that reinforcements have been rushed to the area from the nearest camp of the CRPF.